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Scott Aukerman Talks Comedy Bang! Bang! Season 2 and His “Rivalry” with Zach Galifianakis

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By T Sahara Meer

Well, Christmas in July! At least that’s how we’re feeling today, on the eve of Comedy Bang! Bang!’s return to IFC tomorrow at 10/9c. And like Santa in his workshop, creator/host Scott Aukerman has been carefully crafting Season 2 for the enjoyment of boys and girls all over the world — and the best part is, he doesn’t give a damn who’s naughty or nice. Incredibly, we were able to catch up with the uber-busy Aukerman — actually, it wasn’t that hard, he’s been on a media blitzkrieg all week. But before you get your chance to ask him all sorts of ridiculous questions yourself during his Twitter Q & A tomorrow at 9:30 PM ET/ 6:30 PM PT, we wanted a crack at him first. So read on, Bang! Bang! fans, and then just one more sleep until the big day…

What new things can viewers look forward to seeing on Season 2 of Comedy Bang! Bang!?

You know when IFC came to us and said you can make new episodes, that was the first thing we decided to do — to make them new. We decided not to just rerun the old ones. Practically, every frame is new this year. Although, sometimes we did get a little lazy and were like, “Let’s just throw some of the old frames in there.” But practically every word that we say is new. And when I say that, I mean we’re creating new words on the show this year. We decided not to be lazy and use any word that we used last year. So if you hear us use a word that we used last year — if you catch us because we slip up — then you can win 80 brand new Hyundais. Some contests only give away one car, we’re giving away 80. Pretty exciting.

Is it revealing too much to tell us some of the new words that you’ve created for Season 2?

Well, we use “flanderfoodle” once. You see, once we use a new word, we can’t use it the rest of the season. So something like “farfenoogle” — which we were so excited about when we came up with it — because when you hear it, it just so accurately reflected what was going on. It’s like when you come up with a word like “Kleenex.” And it’s like, “Yes! I’m going to blow my nose into a ‘Kleenex’ — of course I am!” It just fits, you know. So when we came up with that word that we came up with, we were like, “Oh, this is so perfect for what is happening right now.” But, then, we can’t use it again. So when we felt that way again, we had to come up with something new like “brackenbrickle” — and it just wasn’t the same.

If you had to pick just one, what would your favorite moment be from Season 1?

I really like the final episode, the green screen episode. That’s one where we got a little bit crazier and had a huge concept for the show. I think that in Season 2, we’re going to be doing a lot more stuff like that. Just the fact that we were able to do 20 episodes, we were able to stretch out and really tackle some bigger ideas this year. And also some weightier topics. In the conversations this year, some really heavy stuff comes up. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? I’ll let the viewers decide. They can sound off on their Twitter and leave their comments below.

How has your relationship with Reggie Watts evolved in your time working together on the show?

I think it’s deepened. I think that the emotional exercises that we do before taping the show where we sit and face each other and touch knees — it goes without saying that we take off all of our clothes before we do this — and we gaze into each other’s eyes and we tell each other what we appreciate about each other. You can’t do that with a person without feeling closer to them. It’s much like in Cat’s Cradle, touching feet. We don’t go that far because feet are disgusting. But it’s been this thing where we have developed a real friendship, not just a TV friendship. In Season 2, you can tell in the first couple of episodes, it’s still just TV friendship. But then there’s this moment in Season 2, when it’s like boom!, all of a sudden: real friendship — and I hope that viewers can tell exactly when that is.

The new promos for Season 2 feature the tagline “the ultimate comedy fantasy” with you as a centaur and Reggie riding your back. Has that been a fantasy of yours?

Well, that’s not fantasy. That’s reality. We had to shoot that for the poster. I had to remove my glamour which prevents human beings from seeing me as a centaur and reveal my true self to the world. But Reggie and I have gotten close enough where he felt comfortable getting on my back. So it’s not really a fantasy at all. My fantasy is to appear as a human. That’s why I purchased that expensive glamour from a witch. So I’m living out my fantasy every day, but the reality is that I’m just a dirty, gross centaur.

Prior to Comedy Bang! Bang!, you were more of a behind-the-scenes guy (writing, producing). How has your life changed since becoming a TV star?

Yeah, I hated being in the scenes. I wanted to stay behind them. But there are all sorts of perks you get as a celebrity. There’s a celebrity internet, that only celebrities are allowed on. You have to type in wingdings. It’s a little bit harder, but it’s so exclusive. Oh, and the other issue with it is when you log on, it’s dial up. So it’s a pain in the ass, really, but the exclusivity of it just feels so damn good. And, you know, having every human on earth recognize me when I go out on the street can be a little distracting. Especially for them, because any city I travel in, work stops. Everyone puts down their protractors and their jackhammers — I think I just covered both ends of the job spectrum with those two items. [Laughs] But, really, they just sit and stare at me, mouths agape. I’m into it. So if you see me on the street, don’t try to talk to me, just sit and stare, slack jawed, at me. That’s what I really appreciate. And bow. Do one of those Japanese, full bows to the waist, not just one of those tiny head nods. Have your mouth agape and bow to the waist and I will now that you are a true Comedy Bang! Bang! fan.

You created another talk show, “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis. Is there any kind of rivalry between you and Zach about who’s a better host?

I think that Zach would concede that I’m a far better host than he. What he gets in return is that he is incredibly rich and a movie star. So, we all have our specialties in life: His is being a movie star and being one of the richest men on earth, and I get to be the better host. Hey! I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

You have quite an impressive array of celebrities coming up on the show — Jessica Alba, Sarah Silverman, Jason Schwartzman. How did you select your guests?

They’re very lucky when they are selected. We have a randomizer. It’s kind of a computer-generated number randomizer. We put every celebrity that exists into the computer and we assign them a number. George Clooney! Hey, you’re number 3,487, for instance. Then we mix them all up. You never know who’s going to pop out of that randomizer, but whatever number we pick, we just slot them right into the show. We were lucky this year, quite frankly, because there were some really D, E and F celebrities in that thing. But we got so lucky with who the computer picked this year. You can’t imagine the celebration that went on in the office when Jessica Alba’s name come up. It was like, “Oh! Oh my god. Thank goodness! It could have been Snooki.”

As a writer, producer, podcaster, you seem to have worked with every comedian in Hollywood. Is there any comic you don’t know but would like to meet?

I would love to have Chris Elliot on the show. I emailed with him once. His stuff on Late Night With David Letterman and his work in Cabin Boy and his books have all been great influences on me. We’ve tried to have him on the show both seasons and it didn’t work out. I would love to have him, and I say that in utter sincerity. Last year, someone asked me a similar question and I said “Pee Wee Herman” and it came true. So, I’m just going to put it out there: Chris Elliot, come on the show!

Comedy Bang! Bang! returns to IFC on Friday, July 12 at 10/9c

Want the latest news from Comedy Bang! Bang!? Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter@comedybangbang and use the hashtag #cbbtv.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.